It’s been ten years since Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland was the breakout surprise of October 2009 and, believe it or not, the sequel is finally here. Those who followed the rumors in the intervening decade must have felt that Zombieland: Double Tap was never going to happen; despite the obvious enthusiasm from star Jesse Eisenberg and the rest of the cast, the production delays, casting concerns, and screenwriter turnover made it tough to imagine a sequel ever seeing the light of day. But not only does the new film reunite pretty much everyone – cast, director, and screenwriters – it also manages to capture some of the same magic that made the original a successful R-rated comedy at a time where that seemed like a minor Hollywood miracle.
And while the world of these characters has not changed drastically since we last saw them – zombies and rules are still very much intact – it’s hard not to draw parallels between the two films and see what has changed about both zombie movies and comedies in one little decade.
In a recent interview with both Fleischer and Eisenberg, we discussed getting the script to the right place, finding room for improvisation, and the power of limitations when it comes to shooting action.
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Gemini Man is a globetrotting 3D action movie with assassins, motorcycle chases, and that emphasizes the value of life, so it’s no surprise that it’s directed by Ang Lee. The visionary director behind Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain once again pushes the envelope with his high-frame-rate and Will Smith-headlined cinematic experiment. Similar to many Ang Lee movies, Gemini Man has an identity crisis, repression, and father issues to go along with the popcorn entertainment, which, like his Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, is shot in 120 frames per second and 3D. This time around, the result is more immersive and tactile, less otherworldly and distancing.
It’s a new way of telling a story that, as Lee says, he’s just getting started with as he remains hopeful other filmmakers will join him in his pursuit of the sharpest image possible. 120 fps remains polarizing, but Lee remains assured he’s on the right path. Anytime an artist tries something new, it’s automatically going to distance some audiences, anyway. There are still kinks to be smoothed out and movie theaters have to catch up to Lee, but he’s also thinking about the long game: not just where the technology is now, but where it will go.
After over a decade of trying to interview him, we got 15 minutes with Lee, and although there’s some pressure to finally sit across from this filmmaking giant, when you walk in a room and are greeted by him, any nervousness dissipates fast. His calmness and modesty are impossible not to feel at ease around, but behind that calmness lies an intense desire to, as he told us, remain cutting edge.
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A great comic book villain isn’t living up to his or her potential without a proper musical theme, and in the case of Joker, he gets one courtesy of composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. Her score for Joker is chillingly good and up there with the best of the genre, with an intensity matching and complimenting Joaquin Pheonix‘s performance. Again, the Emmy-winning composer behind Chernobyl elicits intense feelings of horror and uneasiness, although she laughs when people – including myself – tell her that her music has a horror quality to it. “It’s definitely very common that my music is perceived as darker than what I am feeling myself,” she told us, laughing. In her view, her music is more reflective than horrific.
Prior to Joker, Guðnadóttir has produced several albums of her own (which you should listen to on Spotify), performed cello on The Revenant and several other films all movie nerds know, and collaborated frequently with the deeply missed Johan Johansson (Arrival). After playing cello on Sicario, years later she was composing the music for its sequel, Day of Soldado. Now, she’s scored her first big comic book movie, and she told us all about her experience, her collaboration with director Todd Phillips‘, and the movie’s stunning final piece, “Call Me Joker.”
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Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 by Fred Topel
While Joker is in theaters this weekend and Birds of Prey is on the way, The CW’s Arrowverse is launching a new Batshow. Batwoman stars Ruby Rose as Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne’s cousin who returns to Gotham City and becomes Batwoman in his absence.
Not every Gothamite is happy to see Batwoman. Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) thinks his Crow Security team is all the protection Gotham City needs and Alice (Rachel Skarsten) wants to turn Gotham City into her own Wonderland. Batwoman will also be part of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover.
Batwoman showrunner Caroline Dries spoke with /Film after the show’s Television Critics Association panel. Batwoman airs Sunday nights on The CW.
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The Simpsons just began its landmark 31st season on Fox, who has renewed the show through at least season 32. The Simpsons is now working under the Disney banner thanks to the merger with 20th Century Fox, and the back catalog of episodes will appear on the Disney+ streaming service.
The Simpsons family is still mourning the loss of Russi Taylor, who provided the voice of Martin Prince. When /Film ran into showrunner Al Jean at the Summer Television Critics Association party, he said the show intends to continue with Martin Prince as a character. When other voice actors, like Phil Hartman and Marcia Wallace passed away, they retired their characters.
Season 31 of The Simpsons airs Sunday nights on Fox.
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Right in-between Pennywise the Dancing Clown and Joaquin Phoenix’ Clown Prince of Crime, a different type of clown wants to make it to the big screen – Wrinkles the Clown. Director Michael Beach Nichols takes a hard look at one of the most fascinating Internet legends of the past few years, a clown that is apparently hired by parents to scare their kids. As Marisa Mirabal wrote for the site, Wrinkles the Clown is an intriguing magic trick of a film, and it’s true, Nichols takes a simple premise – investigating the story behind a viral 2014 YouTube video that showed a sinister clown mask-wearing individual emerging from underneath a child’s bed – and evolves it into an exploration of the internet itself and its ability to spread wild tales and why we love to feel scared.
I had the opportunity to interview the man behind the documentary, director Michael Beach Nichols, at Fantastic Fest and talk about the film, its big twist, the internet and more. For clarity and spoilers-sake, the interview has been edited so as to not ruin the surprise, and believe me – you’ll want to experience the insanity that is Wrinkles The Clown yourself when it arrives on October 4, 2019.
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Martin Scorsese is out there hyping up his latest masterpiece The Irishman, but he’s also taking time to sing the praises of other people’s films as well. During a Q&A at the New York Film Festival, Scorsese opened up about his love of Ari Aster‘s Hereditary, praising the movie’s family dynamic above its horror elements. You can watch the full 40-minute Martin Scorsese Q&A below.
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Not long ago, we had the chance to speak with directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck along with producer Peter Del Vecho in the Walt Disney Animation building during an early press day for Frozen II.
We’ll have an extensive article all about the new sequel very soon, but first, let’s dive into some interesting tidbits from my three-on-one interview with these filmmakers about the future of Walt Disney Animation. We touch on the changes Lee has made since taking over for John Lasseter as Walt Disney Animation’s president, and the circumstances that would need to present themselves in order for a new hand-drawn feature film to be released under the Walt Disney Animation banner. Read their comments below. Read More »
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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney Animation in Burbank to take an early look at some footage from Frozen II, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2013 mega-hit. Returning directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck and their team spent the last four years making this film, which is only the fourth sequel in Disney Animation history (not counting direct-to-video movies). Read on to discover what we learned about the film’s story, its new characters, the changes to Arendelle since the original movie, and much, much more. Read More »
Posted on Monday, September 23rd, 2019 by Jacob Hall
With credits that include Community, Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Sarah Silverman Program and so much more, Rob Schrab has become a go-to director for television comedy. But his experience in the comic book world, as well as his screenplay for the creepy family horror film Monster House, make him a great fit for Shudder’s revival of Creepshow. When we visited the set earlier this year, Schrab was deep into directing his segment for the anthology horror series. Titled “Bad Wolf Down,” it follows a squad of American soldiers during World War II who are pinned down by Nazis…but it’s a full moon, they’re werewolves, they are not going down without a fight.
On the set, we saw Schrab’s line-up of lycanthropes, which included tributes to The Wolf Man, The Howling, and American Werewolf in London. He cheekily dubbed them the “Avengers” of werewolves and was able to elaborate when we caught up with him on the phone a few weeks later.
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